2nd BioTrade Congress

"Integrating REDD+ into BioTrade Strategies"

11-13 December 2013.
Room XII, Palais des Nations. Geneva, Switzerland

Climate change has taken its toll on biodiversity and as a development challenge it requires an integrated and strategic approach such as the integration of biodiversity-based strategies in climate change mitigation. The UNFCCC has introduced targeted measures such as “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (REDD), which now includes “conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks” (REDD+). These measures offer financial incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands, by conserving forestries, and invest in low-carbon emissions paths to sustainable development. With the introduction of these measures, there exists an opportunity for developing countries to integrate BioTrade activities into climate-friendly policies, thereby strengthening local economic activities in forest areas while conserving both forests and biodiversity. They can also offer sustainable development opportunities for developing countries within biodiversity-based and carbon markets.

To address this opportunity, under the 7th Tranche of the Development Account, UNCTAD is implementing the project "Strengthening the capacity of policy-makers and business leaders in three BioTrade beneficiary countries in integrating REDD+ projects into BioTrade strategies". This project aims at strengthening the capacities of three developing countries (Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador) in formulating and implementing mutually supportive trade, environment, and sustainable development strategies in line with BioTrade and REDD+ practices.

In order to disseminate the experiences and lessons generated in the project, the Second BioTrade Congress "Integrating REDD+ into BioTrade Strategies" is being organized in Geneva from 11 to 13 December 2013. This congress will focus on how climate change issues and mechanisms (REDD+) can be leveraged to preserve biodiversity, and also provide a platform for cooperation and additional business opportunities to be captured by BioTrade partners and practitioners. Furthermore, BioTrade projects and companies already provide a framework that can be the basis for developing carbon sequestration projects for several reasons such as:
• BioTrade aims to contribute to increase the value of existing forests vis-à-vis other unsustainable practices that convert forests to other uses (e.g. illegal deforestation and/or degradation);
• BioTrade practitioners have been fostering the conservation and sustainable management of existing forest through the sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and sustainable tourism initiatives; and
• BioTrade actors have strong linkages with local communities, as they are not only being involved in the business but have also experience in implementing BioTrade.

The Congress is convened by the BioTrade Initiative of UNCTAD, with the support of BioTrade partners and practitioners in Africa and Latin America, as well as experts working on REDD+ and climate change and SECO. Considering the expertise of BioTrade partners and experts, the event is organized in five sessions where government, private sector and civil society representatives will be covering the following topics:
• Emerging issue: Climate Change and BioTrade - opportunities and challenges?;
• Policy frameworks: Biodiversity Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets, and Access and Benefit Sharing in biodiversity and ecosystem services;
• Market creation and development for ecosystem services;
• Value chain enhancement for products and services derived from ecosystem services; and
• South-south and cross-industry cooperation, and Importance of traceability systems.

It is expected that a report on the deliberations and issues arising in the Congress will be prepared by UNCTAD. The report will be made available to relevant multilateral processes, including UNCTAD, MEAS, processes related to the Sustainable Development Goals, among others.